By Mike McKimm
BBC science correspondent
The scheme could be in operation in five years
Plans to store natural gas deep under Larne Lough will go ahead if test bores carried out by two energy companies are successful.
Northern Ireland Energy Holdings and Portland Gas hope to start storing gas there within a few years if their tests show the area to be suitable.
The security of our natural gas supply is limited.
Apart from at power stations, little of the gas is actually stored here.
If our supply from the underwater gas pipeline from Scotland was cut off we would quickly run out.
So it's planned to store up to three months' supply in huge salt deposits under Larne Lough.
If the tests to be carried out later this year show it can be done, it is anticipated that huge underground caverns would be hollowed out by flushing the salt out with water.
The holes would then be filled with the natural gas piped in from Scotland.
The storage of gas underground is fairly common, but few places in the UK have suitable geological or rock formations to allow it to happen.
The salt deposit is the same one that is mined at Carrickfergus.
The technology and engineering involved is fairly straightforward so if it goes ahead, the scheme could be up and running within five or six years.